Monday, June 13, 2011

Thoughts on Lebron.

No matter what Lebron said after losing Game 6, it was going to be scrutinized, criticized and heavily broadcast. There was probably no one thing that he could have said that would satisfy everyone. Inevitably, someone would have taken offense to it, would have found it insincere or otherwise lacking. But what he did say seems to be to be one of the worst paths he could have taken:  “They have to wake up and have the same life that they had before they woke up today … the same personal problems,” James said. “I’m going to continue to live the way that I want to live. … But they have to get back to the real world at some point.” 

Yes. Lebron, you're right. This morning I woke up, and I'm not a multimillionaire like you. I'm not famous. I'm entering grad school next year and loan payments loom in my horizon and will continue to do so for years. But trust me- I'd rather have my mundane, "real world" problems any day, when I think about the problems he has. His problems- that he made himself such a polarizing figure that millions of people around the world waited up to see the Heat lose, to see him wither in the spotlight and fail once again- these are not real world problems. They're worse- they are attacks on his character. His comments reeked of immaturity, poor sportsmanship and, most concerning, of delusion. Lebron fancies himself a victim. He doesn't understand why people are so fixated on seeing him lose, and why we can't all move on from "The Decision." He thinks he's a victim because he's misunderstood and unfairly attacked. I think he's a victim, but for other reasons. This is a man who has been told he's king of the world since freshman year of high school. The super stardom, the millions of dollars and the adoring fans, have cemented this title in his mind. This is not a normal psyche, and it is a stain of our society, that we have allowed our priorities to run so wildly awry. 

I don't expect Lebron to be perfect- and I would never want him to be. I want him to be human. He has an enormous, undeniable talent. If he could find the courage to step outside of his bubble and in to the real world that he referenced, I think he could play to his full potential. In the real world, we make mistakes... And Lebron, in his bubble of hubris, also makes mistakes, but refuses to acknowledge them. If he could find the courage to own up to his shortcomings and missteps, I think that he could overcome them and evolve. Out here in the real world, when people make mistakes, it's not the end all be all. Mistakes and transgressions are inevitable, and they allow us to learn, progress and grow, so that we don't make the same ones in the future. The mark of a mature, thoughtful person is the ability to admit you've made a mistake and set a plan in place for how to not make the same one again. Right now, Lebron is seemingly incapable of doing that, and that's a bad thing for Lebron the superstar, and a worse thing for Lebron James, the 27 year old man. He insists on playing the martyr, in perpetual denial- anything to take the blame and negative off of him, and on to those around him. His post game comments sounded like something I'd expect from one of the children I work at an after school with. 

Plenty of great players failed to win championships: Charles Barkley, John Stockton, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, Reggie Miller, and Dominique Wilkins, for example. It is a fact that looms over them, but it is not used as leverage against them, the way that it currently is against Lebron. When Dirk won last night, when Jason Kidd won last night, I know that I was far from alone in feeling like the victory was hard fought and well deserved. Regardless of if Lebron ever wins a title, I will probably never be a fan, but I hope that he can evolve as a basketball player to the point where I can one day say he deserved to win. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ciara and Amar'e go to the beach. Prepare to be jealous of the level of physical fitness on display.

The couple was spotted together on South Beach.
If you want to know how Ciara stays so fit, she recently dished about her secrets here. She says that she stays away from eating salt and goes to the gym for an hour 5 to 6 times a week. Is it really that simple?

Friday, May 13, 2011

All is not lost.

Maybe it's a cop out, but after the Celtics lost in Miami and the series was over, I felt an odd sense of relief. Make no mistake about it: for their fight, pride and bravery, I applaud them, but in the hours leading up to Game 5, I found myself encased in doubt. Not doubt about whether or not the Celtics possessed the talent to beat the Heat, because they certainly do- but doubt about if the fight was even with it anymore. I initially argued that, though overcoming a 3-1 deficit was unlikely, it was still worth it to go out and scrap. Miami would be inconvenienced because they'd have to come back to Boston and play again, and they'd be forced to put forth effort that they'd surely rather save up for the next round. But watching Rondo, his face usually a carefully measured mask of stoicism, breathless and overcome by pain, and looking down the rest of the roster and watching as the names of people injury ridden piled up to unbelievable, ridiculous levels, it all just seemed like too much. This team plays beautiful, fluid and hard fought basketball and watching them reduced to playing a cheap version of their real game became to much for me. But again- in playing to the tilt and in never giving up the fight, they displayed one of the things that I love most about them: a unified front, full of heart, dedicated to winning.

And I think they can still do it. Yes, I think there's hope for next year. As it became clearer that the Celtics were going to lose game 5, Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson dragged on and on, talking about how the torch of the Eastern Conference was being passed from Boston to Miami. I refuse to endorse that sentiment. I truly believe that this team, if properly tweaked, can win another championship. Properly tweaking this summer has to look drastically different than it has in any other summer during the Big Three era. Competition is so staunch at the top of the Eastern Conference that banding together a team of superstars in the twilight of their careers won't make the cut. It doesn't require bringing in superstar talent (which is way out of the Celtics price range anyway), but it does require that the management make shrewd, crafty decisions to bring in a fleet of athletic, young, consistent talent. I think that re-signing Jeff Green and Delonte West and even Nenad Krystic would be a great start, along with Glen Davis- provided it's at the right cost. While on the topic of Jeff Green- many fans are down on him, due to his mainly lackluster post season performance. Anyone brought to Boston under the guise of being the factor that made it okay to trade Kendrick Perkins had enormous shoes to fill. He certainly left himself a lot of room for improvement, but I think that he has tremendous potential and could become a valuable asset as a swing man off the bench. The most glaring need is in the middle. This team can not win without a physical, intimidating presence. They need, as my dad so aptly classified it, "a banger." Forces like Lebron James will always get their points- but they can't be allowed to so comfortably live in the paint the way Lebron did this past series.  

I garner even more hope about the future of this team from Doc Rivers re-signing a long term deal. He is the embodiment of all things Celtic, and his investment in the long term signifies that this team is still dedicated to winning in the immediate future, and is not going to plummet in to mediocrity while rebuilding. Doc Rivers is as valuable as any guy suiting up and playing, and with him already on the books, much of my uneasiness has been soothed.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


It's been 3 years since the Celtics championship run in 2008, and still, to this day, if I allow myself to think about Game 1 of the Finals when Paul Pierce went down with a knee injury, I cry. I can still see him crumpled on the floor, face contorted with agony. My mind went to the worst of places right away- that it was season ending, that after years of playing on horrible Celtics teams his Championship aspirations were being stomped out with the finish line finally in sight. And then, minutes later, I can still see him running back through the tunnel, his face a mask of bravery, zoned in and ready to go.

And now, thanks to Rondo's staggering show of courage and dedication last night, I have no doubt that I have another memory which will bring me to tears in the blink of an eye. To see him on the floor, with KG hovered over him in a state of panic, my mind again was off to the races. I feared that this was the end of his season: that a season filled with nagging and painful injuries, a season filled with many doubting his commitment and ability, and a 3 year long fight to get back to the top would end with him on the floor, out of breath and writhing in pain. But it didn't. I allowed my frustration and disappointment in the 2-0 series to taint my vision. I forgot that this was Rondo- a 6 foot nothing soldier who's played through plantar fasciitis, a balky back, hand injuries that made his hands throb and feel arthritic and countless other unnamed injuries that remain anonymous because he refuses to use them as excuses.

So of course he went back to the locker room, had his elbow popped back in to place and returned to action. When I saw him trot back to the bench, I felt so lucky. People accuse athletes of being overpaid, egotistical and so consumed with their fame that they don't care about the sport. That's just not the case with this team. Rondo recently inked a 55 million dollar deal. Many other superstars with similar monetary success would be worried about next year- I dislocated my elbow, what happens if I try to keep playing, further injure myself and that effects next year? What about my endorsements? What about my next contract? Rondo isn't worried about next year. He's not looking past this series- he's not even looking past the current game. He has no summer plans.  He wants to win. And a fan that's emotionally invested and all consumed by this team, I feel so lucky to have players on my favorite team who make it worth it. If Rondo can play with one arm and tell everyone that he's going to continue playing and not to ask him how he's feeling, even if he's holding his arm- then I certainly am not giving up on this team. We're even more lucky. It isn't just Rondo. It's Delonte, rising and rising again after injuries continue to pile up around him. It's Paul Pierce, playing an a strained foot and diving in to the stands, Jermaine O'Neal coming back from a knee surgery and Shaq giving all he can with his body fiercely protesting. I could go on and on. This team has resolve. They're still down 2-1, and there's a long way to go... But like KG said: I'm all in.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

What can Shaq do for you?

Some numbers people at ESPN took a look at the difference Shaq made this year for the Celtics when they played against the Heat. His impact was... Crazy good! Since he's supposed to play tomorrow, and it's a must win situation, it's pretty exciting. Chris Forsberg presented the results:

 With Shaq on the court in the regular season against the Heat, the Celtics averaged 121.1 points per 100 possessions, a stunning 26.2 points per 100 possessions improvement from when Shaq was off the court.

Boston shot a tremendous 54.1 percent from the field against Miami this season with Shaq on the court. That fell to 45.5 percent with Shaq off the court.

Some of the Celtics that saw the biggest differences were Rajon Rondo, who shot 34.5 percent from the field with Shaq off the court and 50 percent with Shaq on the court, and Ray Allen, who shot 50 percent with Shaq off the court and 68.8 percent with Shaq on the court.

The five current Boston players that played with Shaq against Miami all felt huge impacts. With Shaq on the court, each saw a meaningful elevation in the team's offensive rating (points per 100 possessions). 

Oh, AND the numbers show that the Big Shamrocks presence greatly benefited the percent of assists on made field goals and upped Boston's offensive rebounding statistics (him being on the floor provided them with a 17 percent increase in the number of offensive boards they pulled down).  The team was more offensively fluid with the Big Shamrock suited up. KG had a +13.3, which is the lowest number- but Rondo and Ray Allen, both of whom need to be greatly involved in making this a series, saw improvements of +24.4 and +25.5 respectively. Yes, please. 

Chris Forsberg also provided the efficiency of Shaq on the defensive end, and those results are just as great:

Miami felt Shaq's impact as well. The Heat had a net offensive rating of +8 when Shaq was off the court. However, the Heat had a net rating of -28.3 when Shaq was on the court. 

Miami's shots were about a foot and a half closer when Shaq was out of the game. The average distance of a Heat attempt with Shaq on the court was 15.1 feet. With Shaq off the court, the average distance of an attempt was 13.4 feet (1.7 feet closer).

Effectively, Shaq helped neutralize Joel Anthony
. In the 15 minutes that Shaq and Anthony played head-to-head in the regular season, Anthony's plus/minus took a major hit (-17). That means the that the Celtics outscored the Heat by more than a point per minute with Shaq and Anthony on the court at the same time.

Considering that Anthony currently has the best plus/minus in the 2011 postseason at +91, including +20 in the conference semifinals against the Celtics, Shaq's ability to play becomes that much more significant.

These numbers are all undoubtedly really exciting... But I'm going to try and reign in my optimism because we don't know what Shaq will be able to give. He hasn't played in months, and is nowhere close to 100 percent. That's not to say I'm a Debbie Downer. I'm rooting for Shaq 500 percent and I do hold out hope that he will make a solid impact! (P.S., if you don't know what offensive rating means, you can read about it here). 

A really unsightly rumor about Glen Davis and a video vixen.

I hope that this one turns out to be far from the truth. 

A couple of days ago it was rumored that video vixen Rozay Mylan was kicked out of VIP by Drake and subsequently arrested because she was upset by her ejection from the club. Well, Ms. Mylan called in to the radio show The Breakfast Club, to clear her name. She claims she was kicked out not because Drake wanted her out, but because another video vixen at that same party doesn't like her and organized her getting the boot. I guess she felt compelled to keep talking at that point, because she apparently went on a rant "exposing people," and claimed that another video vixen, Hencha Voigt (where do they come up with these names?), was paid 40K by Glen Davis to get an abortion. 

Could it happen? Yes. But I'd like to think that Baby is victim to a crazy lady embarrassed and mad that she got kicked out of the club, and so now she's running her mouth trying to throw other people under the bus. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

As of Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 4:14 PM, Shaq will play in Game 3.

Hallelujah! Good news! (Maybe...Probably?) Whatever it is, this is the closest thing to good news to happen to this team in the past week or so. I quote Doc Rivers:

“Everybody’s good,” said Rivers. “Everybody is feeling pretty good. Shaq went through practice, we didn’t do anything today, we just watched film and walked over some stuff, and then the second unit [not including O'Neal] worked on their stuff. Right now, we expect every single guy, including Shaq, to play [in Game 3].”

Doc went on to say that the only thing that would potentially keep Shaq from playing in Game 3 is if something happens to him in practice or an injury flares up between now and Saturday. Obviously, it's perfectly likely that this could happen... But for now, I think we should all revel in the good news. Even if he can only play 10 minutes... He'll still be huge- both literally and figuratively. And he'll still be physically able to intimidate anyone driving to the basket. People have been saying that the Heat are beating the Celtics at their own game- intimidation and physicality. I think Shaq being out there could go a long way in reversing that trend, and I have a feeling that he has some unfinished business he'd like to finish with the Heat and with Lebron from his days as a Cav. And that, I will gladly take.

I'm so glad Ron Artest just won an award honoring his great citizenry.

Fresh off being honored by the NBA for his tireless dedication to mental health awareness, community service and other acts that make one an exceptional citizen, Ron Artest decided to throw a temper tantrum because the Lakers were about to go down 2-0:

It's just perfect. So congratulations, NBA, for once again demonstrating a complete and total disconnect from all things sensible, realistic and pragmatic.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Celtics are down 0-2. Let me be clear: I'm not throwing the towel in on this team... At all.

Is being down 0-2 ideal? No. Is it where the Celtics would ideally be? Of course not, sillies. But is it all over? Nope. It's time for them to clamp down, dig deep and ball their hearts out. They're perfectly capable of doing all of that, so let's just hope that they do. In the meantime, I felt like this song (OLD and obnoxious as it is) was the perfect anthem for the fight that lies ahead:

Let the speculation end: Ciara and Amar'e are officially a couple.

And I've officially been spelling his name wrong for months. I didn't realize it was Amar'e, so my fault for writing Amare for months and months. Anyways, what a great distraction mechanism for ignoring the 0-2 Celtics-Heat series: Ciara herself recently confirmed she and Amar'e are an item. Stop the press! Teehee, no, I'm kidding. I think they're a ridiculously good looking couple. They wasted no time in making their first official appearance together as a couple:
Again. A ridiculously good looking couple. I just left the gym, but Ciara makes me want to turn around and go back for a couple more hours. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The saga of Shaq continues

It would be great to get Shaq back. Seeing as how physically the Heat played last game, it would be extremely beneficiary for the Celtics to get Shaq back in to plug the middle and make people think twice about driving to the basket. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Upon further review (not that it was needed)... The league admits its referees messed up. Repeatedly.

Case #1: A foul initially ruled as flagrant on Jermaine O'Neal was downgraded to a run of the mill personal foul. You know why? Because it was blatantly not flagrant. This botched call had serious repercussions: "O'Neal's flagrant led to a five-point possession for Miami and helped the Heat stem a third-quarter Boston rally." 

Case #2: A personal foul whistled on James Jones was upgraded to a flagrant. It's merely conjecture at this point, but maybe if Jones had been correctly whistled for the flagrant at the time of the incident, the recognition by the refs of the excessive nature of the foul would have served to calm Paul Pierce's nerves, and avoid his ejection. But who knows? It's all history now. 

When talking sh*t goes wrong.

HILARIOUS!! The Hawks played Jameer Nelson's life with this one: apparently Mr. Nelson was so confident in the Magic's ability to beat the Hawks and advance to the second round to play the Bulls, he went on the radio talking about how he was going to "see Derrick Rose in the second round." The Magic, as we all know, lost to the Hawks 4-2, but one employee of the Hawks remembered that Jameer had mentioned seeing Derrick Rose in the second round... So he took it upon himself to leave Jameer tickets to the game, so that he could see Derrick Rose... From the stands, as the Bulls played the Hawks. Way too funny!

Thoughts on Game 1

The officiating may have been atrocious, but it is obvious that, zebras aside, there is much that the Celtics need to improve on to win Game 2. I thought of a couple of critical points that the Celtics need to tighten up on. They aren't groundbreaking ideas and they're all pretty obvious... But they're important nonetheless. The first thing is getting off to a good start. The Celtics have a history of coming out of the gate slow, digging themselves in to a hole and then spending the rest of the game clawing their way out. That is a bad pattern in general, a REALLY bad one in the playoffs, and a recipe for disaster against the Miami Heat in a playoff setting. The Celtics came out sluggish yesterday, appeared to be out of sync and struggled to establish pace and maintain a rhythm. This may have been due to the layoff between rounds, or it may have been because guys were over thinking what they were doing instead of playing instinctual, Celtics basketball, but whatever the case may be, setting the tone and coming out strong is important. I don't care what anyone says- the Heat do not play great team basketball. Their two biggest stars play more of a back and forth game with each other, as opposed to an intertwined, complimentary game to each other. The Celtics play their best basketball when they play as a team. If they can come out of the gate playing as a unit, I think that the flaws of the Heat will start to expose themselves.

As was aforementioned, the Celtics were never really able to get over their slow start and establish a flow. It prevented them from doing much of what they do well, and as a result they overcompensated in several areas. The most obvious one to me was over passing. They are an unselfish basketball team, but there were several instances where guys gave up good shots in an effort to get their teammates involved.

The second thing critical to winning is controlling Miami's role players. It has always been the Celtics mantra that the stars will perform, and what they need to do is minimize the impact of role players. That being said, it's inevitable that Dwyane Wade and Lebron James are going to score and get theirs. It is unacceptable for James Jones to come off the bench and be lights out, many times getting wide open looks at the basket. The Celtics were caught numerous times yesterday watching the dribble penetration as opposed to sticking to defensive schemes and staying with their own individual defensive assignments. Defense is the Celtics bread and butter, and it is even more crucial that they are stifling defensively against the tremendous athleticism and scoring duo the Heat boast.

My third key to the game is getting more from our stars. Rondo was bogged down early by foul trouble, Paul Pierce had a tough first half and was ejected in the second half, and Kevin Garnett was largely ineffective. Ray Allen was the lone bright spot for the Celtics offensively, but it felt like the Celtics were riding him and clinging on. These things could have all been flukes, but is important that the team do all that they can to keep it from happening again. Rondo didn't want Lebron to get an open layup so he fouled him, Paul couldn't hit the side of a barn in the first half but came out ready to play in the second, only to be ejected and KG just had a bad day.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Just incase you were wondering... Marquis Daniels wasn't interested in the Royal Wedding.

So me and my friend were coolin out at work yesterday... It was homework time at after school, so we were holding down fort in the computer lab, making sure the kids were doing what they needed to do. My friend is obsessed with the Royal Wedding. She couldn't wait to watch, say things like "pish posh, bloody hell and sodding cow," and she was dying to know what Kate's dress would look like. She was on the computer reading about the then pending nuptials, and I was on twitter. The idea was then born that we should ask Marquis Daniels his thoughts on the wedding. And we did: 
To which he replied: 
What a nice guy. No word on whether or not he thinks Kate Middleton is a banger... But I'm sure he does, seeing as she looked absolutely gorgeous and her dress was stunning. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The latest on Shaq and what Glen Davis did with his 2 days off after sweeping the Knicks

Nothing we haven't heard before.
Not surprising. 

Jackie MacMullan throws the ultimate gauntlet down on Jeff Green

For Celtics fans missing this scowl and all of its intensity:
Being asked to replace it with stoicism such as this has been a tough sell:

MacMullan eloquently presents the argument that the upcoming series against Miami will be Jeff Green's time to prove his worth on this team. She paints the picture of Boston fans impatiently waiting to see what made Green so valuable that he was worth trading Kendrick Perkins away for, "discerning New Englanders have stood stiffly with their arms folded and lips pursed waiting for proof that Green's presence enhances the Boston Celtics' chances of still being 'championship driven.'" 

It is indisputable that Jeff Green is in a tough place here. He is being asked to make himself over as a player, and do so in a drastic reduction of minutes from what he played in Oklahoma City. He's supposed to be the spark off the bench, to be offensively versatile, to maintain any lead compiled by the starters, to be comfortable playing in a myriad of different lineups at different positions- oh, and while he's doing all of this, he's supposed to be guarding the best player on the other team, so Paul Pierce and Ray Allen can catch their breath. And don't forget- we're supposed to be winning a championship here, so the margin for error is nonexistent and the pressure is off the charts. To expect him to be immediately effective is unrealistic, but in his short time here, he has displayed tremendous athletic ability and a willingness to try and morph in to the player the Celtics need him to be. He also played stints of successful defense against Carmelo Anthony during the first round of the playoffs, which is perhaps what prompted MacMullan to throw the gauntlet down on him. With Lebron James seemingly looming near in the Celtics future, expectations for Green will continue to rise, and, "If Jeff Green has anything to do with sending LeBron and the boys packing, the discerning fans' stiff arms won't be folded anymore. New England will embrace him as one of its own. But, if it goes the other way, the poker-faced forward better be ready. Those pursed lips know how to boo, too."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The case of Lebron

I first came upon this piece written by Ethan Strauss of ESPN on Reds Army. The writer at Reds Army highlighted this part of the article:

A title victory protects an athlete. Don’t have a ring? Likability is the next best defense. If fans identify with a star, they’re less inclined to impugn him. Steve Nash has eluded the cruel “choker” tag, despite many playoff exits. My assumption is that sportswriters and fans are more likely to empathize with someone who looks like them. It helps that Nash plays a beautiful game and exudes charisma. So, it makes sense that much of the media narrative surrounding him revolves around how the Suns have failed him -- not the other way around. 

LeBron James does not look like most media members, or a majority of the fans. He irritated significant numbers with the tone-deaf Decision and what many felt was a power play. The angry masses were further enraged by the local celebration of Miami’s free-agent haul. Should LeBron fail, should his team fail, mockery will write history. 

The implication here is clear: Mr. Strauss believes that much of the criticism Lebron received as a result of the soap opera that was, "The Decision," was because he was black and the majority of NBA fans and members of the media are white. The writer at Reds Army dismissed this argument as tired and disgusting. That writer argued Lebron was criticized because he acted obnoxiously and alienated his fan base by acting so pompously. 

I have to side with Mr. Strauss. He brings up a point that I should be more widely talked about, and that is the racial makeup of the majority of the fans verses the majority of the players. I'm actually not comfortable calling the majority of the fans white- I believe that the fan base is extremely diverse, but the exorbitant price of tickets causes the population in stadiums watching games live to be homogeneous, and unrepresentative of the heterogeneity of the actual fan population. There is no denying that at the game, there is a stark contrast in the makeup of the audience versus the makeup of the teams competing against each other. I'd be lying if I said that at times, the dynamic created by this difference hadn't made me uncomfortable. It most certainly has. The obsession of Brian Scalabrine made me extremely wary, just like the Boston crowds eager readiness to embrace Luke Harangody did. I mean- why Luke? Why were there chants of "Luuuuuke" for him, and why did everyone go crazy when, on the rare occasions he played, he scored? That same enthusiasm simply isn't there for Avery Bradley when he checks in to the game. 

Our country may be transforming in to an increasingly multicultural place, but a lot of us still exist in worlds where our neighbors look the same as us, our children attend schools where the majority of their peers look like them, and our circle of friends are made up of people who look like us. Professional sports do not exist in a vacuum. The prejudices and preconceived notions (conscious or not) that we all carry with us every day are not checked at the door. 

Lebron, in so openly (and yes, obnoxiously) abusing his power as a beloved figure in Ohio, disrupted the unspoken hegemonic code in our country. Would a white sports figure who committed similar transgressions and PR blunders be continually crucified as Lebron has been? It's an argument with no definitive answer, because the white equivalent to Lebron does not exist and because the amount of attention paid to free agency has increased heavily due to social media and a new emphasis on fan participation to increase viewership. In pondering the question in my own mind, I don't think the scrutiny would have been the same for a white player. We're told that we live in a "color blind world," but such a claim is insulting- racism is still very much alive in 2011. It is intricately sewn in to public policy and present in every facet of political discourse and determining who has clout and who does not. It is why so many balked at Lebron and the spectacle he created in exerting all of the power he held. 

My sister helped me with this article, and for that, she deserves this wonderful public recognition and lavish praise.

Mediatakeout accuses Ray Allen of cheating

What a tasteless and silly website. I don't know why I even visit it, because it seems like they just make stuff up out of thin air and claim it's true. Wamp wamp to them. Anyway, they found this picture of Ray at a pizza place:
Well. They're right. That is in fact, not his wife. They claim that Ray was spotted with this woman Friday night after Celtics-Knicks and that they had dinner together, and this somehow means he's cheating on his wife. Seems silly to me. First of all, it's not clear that he's even with that lady. He could have just been standing next to her. Second of all, she could be anyone- a publicist, a family friend... Anyone. I don't buy it. Must be a slow gossip day. 

Tony Allen REALLY loves being on the Grizzlies.

Wow T.A., wow. But you know what? I appreciate his enthusiasm and excitement. Shout out to my team for kicking complete butt in the first round and wowing me with their play, but I have to be a bit of a debbie downer here and say that I miss the days of T.A. freaking out on the bench. Nate Robinson too. Nowadays everybody just sits on the bench and claps civilly. 

Speaking of being civil... Tony Allen isn't about that, and as Celtics fans will remember from his days in green, he never was. He is and always has been, a wild boy, and that's one of the things you love about him when he's playing well, and what drives you crazy about him when he's stinking it up. As you may remember, earlier in the year, he punched teammate OJ Mayo in the face. Well, he's stopped taking shots at members on his own team, and now directs them towards people on the Grizzlies first round opponent, the Spurs... Namely Manu Ginobili. It seems that TA doesn't buy Ginobili's alleged "arm injury," and he believes that Manu is milking it so that the Grizzlies will lay off him: "He ain't playing like his arms hurt. I think that's all for the birds right there. I don't think nothing is wrong with him." Oh, TA. I personally love comments like that. If I was a Spurs fan, it would piss me off, because I'm pretty sure Manu is too much of a competitor to fake an injury and TA is probably just saying it to get under Manu's skin... But if I was a Grizzlies fan? That's exactly what I want to hear from my guys. This is kind of random, but I wish TA could pass some of that mean-ness off to Jeff Green. I wish Jeff Green would take the poker face off sometimes, and be a little mean or animated. But hey. We all have our own styles I guess. 

Hoopz gave Shaq a piggy back.

Ow. That hurts just to think about. But it happened- there's proof:
I think these two are so cute together.
She looks like an official cheerleader in that one... Which she is: 

Loves it!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Dwight Howard is not effing around.

Not only has he been ballin' out of control for Orlando during round 1 of the playoffs (Paging anyone else on the Magic... Please show up if you have any interest in advancing), but he's going after money owed to him by Royce Reed, the mother of his child. Dwight previously sued Royce because she was talking trash about him in the media, and was awarded $500,000. Apparently Royce didn't pay up, because according to Dwight Howard and his legal team- she now owes him $551,606.74. Why the increase in amount, you might ask? Interest is a b*tch.
I doubt Dwight will be seeing that money any time soon... But she must be working with a little something- why else would she still be on Basketball Wives if she wasn't getting paid? Oh, and speaking of the Basketball "Wives" (quotes because none of them are actually married)- they were invited to an event in Miami called the AMG Beach Polo World Cup this weekend, and a fight broke out. No word yet on what caused the altercation... But it's a hot mess in the street nonetheless.  It looks like Royce was holding Tami back. Good luck with that. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spike Lee wears blue and orange tinted glasses... Prescription strength ones.

I'm guilty of mercilessly attacking the refs, blaming them for miscalls and scheming up conspiracy theories that I'm 500 percent sure some of them have against the Celtics... I'm also guilty of forgetting how annoying that is- until right now. Spike Lee just brought me way back down to earth:

Somebody call this man the WAMBULANCE quickly, because this is a severe case of homer-itis. It's like we watched a different game. The game I watched last night had a box score showing that the Knicks shot 11 more free throws than the Celtics. Yes- the Knicks, playing without their most aggressive post player (A'Mare) shot 11 more free throws than the Celtics. And about not getting a call in the last 2 minutes in Boston- the Knicks didn't need a call. The Knicks absolutely pulverized the Celtics on the offensive boards, and feasted off of second chance points as a result of those boards. The Knicks didn't lose Game 2 because of the refs, or a lack of resolve or effort. Not only did Carmelo have an EPIC performance- but the rest of the team put forth an amazing effort that frankly, down A'Mare and Billups, I never would have thought they were capable of. They were seconds away from winning, but the Knicks lost the game because of poor execution. Veteran teams with playoff experience know how to close games. Other teams do not... And that might sound as cliche as whining about officiating, but it is what it is. Spike Lee wants to blame the refs for costing the Knicks the game- but what about Jarred Jefferies on that last play of the game? He himself said he should have shot the ball, instead of trying to force it to Bill Walker (of all people), but he didn't. It was a frenzied moment and the pressure on him was off the chain- so he panicked. That's when the better team executes and less experienced teams falter, as the Knicks did. 

And okay- I also can't help but add that Paul Pierce got whacked around and hacked a heck of a lot without getting a call, and Rondo also took a couple of non-whistled cheap shots.

Nicki Minaj is busy.

This is Nicki giving Steve Nash a lap dance. Hilarious!!!! Oh Steve. Jared Dudley has to be sad it wasn't him instead: 

And a couple days ago, it was Chris Paul:
Please note the huge grins on both of their faces as they exit the stage. Nicki is the best. 

Oh good. Kobe made a PSA about accepting and respecting gay people.

Some other Lakers chimed in, and chipped in their couple of cents about embracing diversity.
I fail to understand why anybody would think that making a video like this would come off as even remotely sincere or meaningful. Maybe it's just me... But probably not. In cases like this, you're damned if you do, and you're damned if you don't. 

The Heat ask their fans to "fan up" by wearing white shirts... So the Heat wives and girlfriends got in on the gig.

White shirts... Because the Heat are white hot. Get it? Soooo funny.

Anyway, here's Savannah Brinson, Adrienne Williams (soon to be Bosh) and Tameka Foster in their white shirts. As far as I know, Tameka is not a wife or a girlfriend of any Heat player, so she's probably just friends with the other girls because it makes sense that one woman famous for no other reason than being married to Usher would be friends with two other women known for dating famous men. Was that rude?

And another picture of Savannah: 
I absolutely love everything about this outfit. According to The YBF she's wearing: "a BCBG jacket Co-op Tank with Scoop jeans, a vintage necklace, Louboutin shoes and a Versace bag..." AKA that outfit costs more than I make in a month.

The proverbial question: Will Shaq return or is he done?

It's amazing how these things spread like wild fire. I read on Reds Army and at various other blogs/off tweets that Shaq would not be returning. That story came from a story in the Eagle Tribune, who apparently got the information from an anonymous source: 

BOSTON — Shaquille O'Neal may have worn a Boston Celtics uniform for the last time.
In what would be a crippling blow to their chances of winning a title, the Celtics are going forward as if the affable center won't be returning to team for the playoffs, according to an NBA source.
It means the other O'Neal — Jermaine, who has had knee problems since opening day, will be the go-to big man with Glen Davis and Nenad Krstic as his backups.
The Celtics came to this conclusion after Shaq failed to complete one simple sprint up and down the court during a "conditioning test" on Saturday, before he limped off the court in Waltham.
The Celtics held out a slim hope Shaq would be able to make his return in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Knicks or possibly in the conference semifinals, if they advanced.
"If he were to come back, it would have to be a miraculous recovery," said the source, who requested anonymity. "And at his age (he turned 39 on March 6) and physical condition, the Celtics have planned accordingly."

While it's perfectly realistic that Shaq may not return this postseason, I found this report to be instantly questionable... I mean why would a source with such juicy info choose "The Eagle Tribune" as their outlet? I had to google the paper just to find out where it was. Why not splurge and go with the Globe? Or ESPN? It just seemed weird. If I had that kinda info, I'd be soaking up my 15 minutes of fame. Catch me on PTI, Anonymous Source X, with the blurred out face and deepened voice. I mean no disrespect towards that writer or his paper... But anyway, as soon as that report leaked, everyone predictably started going all crazy. Doc Rivers was asked about it and refuted it:

"While timelines have often been extended with O'Neal, Rivers was asked flat out if he expects the 39-year-old center to play in the postseason and he reaffirmed that belief by simply saying, "Yes... He's going to try to [get on the court Thursday]," said Rivers. "... He's going to try to do something [Thursday] and we'll see. He’s had some improvement, but I don’t know how much. I’m just going by what [team trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] and [team physician Dr. Brian] McKeon tell me. They thought he’s had some improvement."

So there. From Doc. Not even Danny, Doc. Of course it's still completely possible that he could be ruled out completely at any time... But I still have (marginal) hope that #36 will return. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wes Welker was on the Pre-Game Meal with Shannon Allen

Here's video from the episode: 

I love Shannon. She seems like such a sweetheart... And Wes is toooo cute.

More video: 
Wes's super pretty girlfriend joins them. 

Have you been wondering about what Allen Iverson's been up to?

Fine. Me either. But I did stumble upon a video where he makes a random cameo:
And it kind of got me thinking... First of all- about that remix? Why does Jermaine Dupri need to be so crass? The best part of the whole thing was when Da Brat told AI about himself at the end there. But second of all, I hope they paid him for that appearance... Because time's have been rough for Mr. Iverson. As if it wasn't sad enough that he couldn't find a job in the NBA and had to play in Turkey, he has been hampered by a calcium deposit in his calf, which has obviously prevented him from playing. He's also facing foreclosure on a mansion in Denver and more recently, had his car impounded in Atlanta, because he was driving around with expired plates. Apparently when he was pulled over for that infraction, he took it upon himself to explain to the cops that he did not care if they took that car away, because, "... I (Allen Iverson) have ten more (cars)... I make more money than you will in 10 years." Sadly for A.I., that seems to be a false statement.

All the news you need to know in increments of 140 characters (or less)

Jermaine O'Neal rocked last night:

Chauncey Billups got hurt: 
Rondo might have hurt his knee too: 
Krstic definitely hurt his knee (but not during the game):

Shaq won't play tomorrow.... Surprise!!
But he does dress like an OG. Nice suit and sneakers, Big Man:
This next one takes Zero characters, but it is a visual depiction to all Knicks fans about why they shouldn't be complaining about the officiating: 
That, my friends, is a call that indisputably went the wrong way at a pivotal point in the game, similar to the situation last night involving Carmelo Anthony and Paul Pierce that so many Knicks fans are up in arms about.

And in news unrelated to last nights game, but still about the Celtics, Flo Allen ran the Marathon today.
She ran it last year as well. Good for her! 2 in 2 years is an unbelievable accomplishment! And her hard work shows, she looks amazing. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Association, Kendrick Perkins, Jeff Green and a new manicure.

It might be kind of weird, but I've avoided watching "The Association." I have a couple of reasons for this. One of them is that I'm very much bored with reality television and secondly, the Celtics are already incredibly all consuming in my life. I eat, sleep and breathe them. I don't need to watch any additional footage of them, because as you may have guessed, I'm borderline compulsive as is. But today I stumbled on these deleted scenes from Episode 5:
And after watching, and laughing, I decided to sit down, bite the bullet, and watch an episode. Big mistake! It opened up with this incredibly candid interview with Rondo, where he talked to the camera about how hard it's been for him to deal with Perk being gone. Me being the huge water head that I am, I was immediately inconsolable and weeping, so I turned the episode off. I was left with a great feeling of unease. I truly do believe that this team can win a banner and I have great faith in them. I also believe that, in Perks absence, people have built him in to something that he never was, due to the great emotional attachment   we all felt to him. Today I allowed myself to relapse in to missing him, so I got a manicure in his honor. I also included an homage to Jeff Green in this manicure, because I think it's important to embrace our new pieces and have faith in he team as it looks now... And what better way is their to express diplomacy, hope and optimism then through a manicure?

Shaq in action! Will he play in Game 1 or won't he?

I'm slightly embarrassed to admit (but not really) that I actually dreamed about this last night. I can't remember that much about it- just when I woke up this morning I thought to myself, "Did you really just dream about whether or not Shaq will be ready for the playoffs?" And yes, wonderful readers, I really did. Thanks to the ever diligent Chris Forsberg at ESPN Boston, we have footage of Shaq shooting around at practice. Not too much to gather from this video... Except the most important thing of all: he's wearing basketball clothes and he's on the floor. Chea! We can all sit around and talk about how the Knicks don't have a true big man, so that lessens the necessity of Shaq coming back in time, but I think we all know that we'd rather have him ready. We must walk before we run, and this seems to be walking. 

Kobe Bryant fined $100,000 for homophobic slur.

As I'm sure everyone knows by now, got upset about a call during April 12th's Lakers-Spurs game and was shown on camera on the bench saying "f*cking f*ggot." 

GLAAD had this to say:
"Hopefully Mr. Bryant will recognize that as a person with such fame and influence, the use of such language not only offends millions of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people around the world, but also perpetuates a culture of discrimination and hate that all of us, most notably Mr. Bryant, should be working to eradicate."

David Stern had this to say in response to the incident: 
"Kobe Bryant's comment during last night’s game was offensive and inexcusable," NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement "While I'm fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated. Accordingly, I have fined Kobe $100,000. Kobe and everyone associated with the NBA know that insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society."

GLAAD can be upset all they want. Kobe was wrong- he said something derogatory and hateful. But you know what, David Stern? I think you're full of crap on this one (what a surprise). NBA players are regularly candidly caught on camera using profanity. It happens dozens of times over the course of every game, because like David Stern pointed out in his statement, it's an emotional game. There's no doubt about it: 
Kobe was wrong- but he didn't know he was on camera at the time. I couldn't find a video of it to embed here, but it's widely available on the internet. If you watch it, Marv Albert even says the camera should be taken off of him because he was upset and swearing. It would be one thing if Kobe was being interviewed post game and made the conscious decision to use the phrase on live TV. But he didn't. He said it in a moment of anger that was unfortunately caught on camera and broadcast to millions. Whoever was working the camera at that instant knew that they would be catching Kobe swearing and they made a conscience decision to pan the camera on to him- probably because they wanted to get a cheap shot of Kobe throwing a temper tantrum. 
 I don't see players being hung out to dry when they use the "N-Word" or "b*tch," and both of those are hurtful, emotionally charged words, similar to "f*ggot." In an ideal world, the NBA would take a zero tolerance stance on the use of profanity and hate speech, but that's impossible. What the NBA can do is try to minimize the extent to which the use of profanity is broadcast to its viewers at home, and they could do this by encouraging cameramen to avoid purposefully catching players swearing on camera for cheap entertainment value.